Before War of the Spark and the F.I.R.E. Planeswalkers came out, Jace, the Mind Sculptor was universally acknowledged as the GOAT. I remember when it first came out, when Bloodbraid Elf and Blightning were powerhouses in Standard, Legacy events were still something of a novelty, and Modern wasn't even a format yet. People were excited about Jace, but was he even that good? 

Over the next few months, the doubters were laughed out of the room and Jace was the second coming of Tarmogoyf (a card in Standard that reached fifty whole dollars!). It was played in every format and preemptively banned in Modern, where it remained for many years until finally getting released back into the wild. And oh yeah, it still slaps. 

This is all to say that I recognize that JTMS is special, and as such I wanted to do something special for this deck, as a nod of respect. 

Let's see what we've got cooked up…

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Jace, the Mind Sculptor by Andy Hurst

'Jace, the Mind Sculptor' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Andy Hurst

Event:

Rank:

Freeform (Casual)

Market Price: $115.29

Cards

Long-Term Plans

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $4.36

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/10864_200w.jpg

Search your library for a card, then shuffle and put that card third from the top.

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Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $56.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218277_200w.jpg

+2: Look at the top card of target player's library. You may put that card on the bottom of that player's library.
0: Draw three cards, then put two cards from your hand on top of your library in any order.
−1: Return target creature to its owner's hand.
−12: Exile all cards from target player's library, then that player shuffles their hand into their library.

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Rewind

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215472_200w.jpg

Counter target spell. Untap up to four lands.

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Brainstorm

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.51

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243841_200w.jpg

Draw three cards, then put two cards from your hand on top of your library in any order.

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Cloud Djinn

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/6006_200w.jpg

Flying
Cloud Djinn can block only creatures with flying.

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Tormod's Crypt

Market Price: $0.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215346_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Tormod's Crypt: Exile target player's graveyard.

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Man-o'-War

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190872_200w.jpg

When Man-o'-War enters the battlefield, return target creature to its owner's hand.

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Memory Lapse

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/118731_200w.jpg

Counter target spell. If that spell is countered this way, put it on top of its owner's library instead of into that player's graveyard.

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Future Sight

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191136_200w.jpg

Play with the top card of your library revealed.
You may play lands and cast spells from the top of your library.

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Coral Atoll

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227336_200w.jpg

Coral Atoll enters the battlefield tapped.
When Coral Atoll enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless you return an untapped Island you control to its owner's hand.
{T}: Add {C}{U}.

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Whirlpool Whelm

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/47475_200w.jpg

Clash with an opponent, then return target creature to its owner's hand. If you win, you may put that creature on top of its owner's library instead. (Each clashing player reveals the top card of their library, then puts that card on the top or bottom. A player wins if their card had a higher mana value.)

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Paperfin Rascal

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/15596_200w.jpg

When Paperfin Rascal enters the battlefield, clash with an opponent. If you win, put a +1/+1 counter on Paperfin Rascal. (Each clashing player reveals the top card of their library, then puts that card on the top or bottom. A player wins if their card had a higher mana value.)

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Riverwise Augur

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243828_200w.jpg

When Riverwise Augur enters the battlefield, draw three cards, then put two cards from your hand on top of your library in any order.

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Callous Deceiver

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/11961_200w.jpg

{1}: Look at the top card of your library.
{2}: Reveal the top card of your library. If it's a land card, Callous Deceiver gets +1/+0 and gains flying until end of turn. Activate only once each turn.

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Medomai's Prophecy

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207179_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after IV.)
I — Scry 2.
II — Choose a card name.
III — When you cast a spell with the chosen name for the first time this turn, draw two cards.
IV — Look at the top card of each player's library.

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Ghost Ship

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161719_200w.jpg

Flying
{U}{U}{U}: Regenerate Ghost Ship.

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Predict

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/171077_200w.jpg

Choose a card name, then target player mills a card. If a card with the chosen name was milled this way, you draw two cards. Otherwise, you draw a card.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/235543_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Graxiplon

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/10460_200w.jpg

Graxiplon can't be blocked unless defending player controls three or more creatures that share a creature type.

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Morphling

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $28.34

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/6947_200w.jpg

{U}: Untap Morphling.
{U}: Morphling gains flying until end of turn.
{U}: Morphling gains shroud until end of turn. (It can't be the target of spells or abilities.)
{1}: Morphling gets +1/-1 until end of turn.
{1}: Morphling gets -1/+1 until end of turn.

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Trinket Mage

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.27

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162802_200w.jpg

When Trinket Mage enters the battlefield, you may search your library for an artifact card with mana value 1 or less, reveal that card, put it into your hand, then shuffle.

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Sindbad

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/14639_200w.jpg

{T}: Draw a card and reveal it. If it isn't a land card, discard it.

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Mage-Ring Network

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236229_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{1}, {T}: Put a storage counter on Mage-Ring Network.
{T}, Remove any number of storage counters from Mage-Ring Network: Add {C} for each storage counter removed this way.

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Codex Shredder

Market Price: $0.21

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227118_200w.jpg

{T}: Target player mills a card. (They put the top card of their library into their graveyard.)
{5}, {T}, Sacrifice Codex Shredder: Return target card from your graveyard to your hand.

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Field of Ruin

Market Price: $0.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/248181_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{2}, {T}, Sacrifice Field of Ruin: Destroy target nonbasic land an opponent controls. Each player searches their library for a basic land card, puts it onto the battlefield, then shuffles.

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Shoal Serpent

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/33427_200w.jpg

Defender
Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, Shoal Serpent loses defender until end of turn.

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Mirozel

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/4353_200w.jpg

Flying
When Mirozel becomes the target of a spell or ability, return Mirozel to its owner's hand.

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Aether Spellbomb

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216111_200w.jpg

{U}, Sacrifice Aether Spellbomb: Return target creature to its owner's hand.
{1}, Sacrifice Aether Spellbomb: Draw a card.

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Sky Diamond

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/254197_200w.jpg

Sky Diamond enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {U}.

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Expel from Orazca

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/155796_200w.jpg

Ascend (If you control ten or more permanents, you get the city's blessing for the rest of the game.)
Return target nonland permanent to its owner's hand. If you have the city's blessing, you may put that permanent on top of its owner's library instead.

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Diamond Mare

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/169071_200w.jpg

As Diamond Mare enters the battlefield, choose a color.
Whenever you cast a spell of the chosen color, you gain 1 life.

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Spin into Myth

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.42

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/37231_200w.jpg

Put target creature on top of its owner's library, then fateseal 2. (To fateseal 2, look at the top two cards of an opponent's library, then put any number of them on the bottom of that player's library and the rest on top in any order.)

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Faerie Conclave

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.80

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/133621_200w.jpg

Faerie Conclave enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {U}.
{1}{U}: Faerie Conclave becomes a 2/1 blue Faerie creature with flying until end of turn. It's still a land.

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Academy Drake

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162788_200w.jpg

Kicker {4} (You may pay an additional {4} as you cast this spell.)
Flying
If Academy Drake was kicked, it enters the battlefield with two +1/+1 counters on it.

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Djinn of Wishes

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/171456_200w.jpg

Flying
Djinn of Wishes enters the battlefield with three wish counters on it.
{2}{U}{U}, Remove a wish counter from Djinn of Wishes: Reveal the top card of your library. You may play that card without paying its mana cost. If you don't, exile it.

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Pondering Mage

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190803_200w.jpg

When Pondering Mage enters the battlefield, look at the top three cards of your library, then put them back in any order. You may shuffle. Draw a card.

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Erratic Mutation

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/233774_200w.jpg

Choose target creature. Reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a nonland card. That creature gets +X/-X until end of turn, where X is that card's mana value. Put all cards revealed this way on the bottom of your library in any order.

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Hieroglyphic Illumination

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212396_200w.jpg

Draw two cards.
Cycling {U} ({U}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Counterbalance

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $14.33

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/14019_200w.jpg

Whenever an opponent casts a spell, you may reveal the top card of your library. If you do, counter that spell if it has the same mana value as the revealed card.

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Evacuation

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $4.98

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/124499_200w.jpg

Return all creatures to their owners' hands.

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The Game Plan

Because we're very likely to be using the Brainstorm ability with Jace when we get him in play, the goal here is to make use of effects that take advantage of the top of our library. Counterbalance is the big one here, and is the first of our budget busters. (I had a couple cards laying around that I badly wanted to play in this deck, so I slotted them in even if they're a bit expensive for the general constraints. You rule the roost for as long as JTMS did, you get some special privileges!) 

We don't have Top (I actually did have one of those laying around too, but I hadn't realized they they're worth almost as much as Jace himself! The times, they are a-changin), and we only have 1 copy of Brainstorm proper, so we'll have to think carefully when we have Counterbalance active, but it still provides us with the opportunity to get and stay wayyyy ahead. Free counterspells are great. Long-Term Plans can essentially function as an instant-speed Demonic Tutor when you can just Brainstorm the target into your hand at the next opportunity, and we'll have a better opportunity to win our clashes when we can manipulate or generally be aware of what's on top. Sindbad suddenly becomes a 2-mana Archivist when we always put a land back on top for him; Codex Shredder gives us a similar effect for library manipulation. 

Because this isn't Legacy and we can't just jam-pack our deck with fetchlands to reset the top of the deck, we'll need to be more judicious with our shuffle effects. Trinket Mage is the All-Star here, providing us with a small package to tutor for (Crypt, Spellbomb, Shredder) that can be bounced with Jace's minus ability for future shuffles. Field of Ruin can shuffle us up in a pinch and maybe even get to hit a valuable nonbasic on the other side. Long-Term Plans and Pondering Mage are the other workhorses here, and the Mage can also be redeployed at the cost of just a bit of loyalty in a pinch. 

Because this deck has a couple outstanding bomb rares (not to mention constructed studs like Counterbalance), I wanted to fill out the creature base with some of my favorite weird Blue creatures. Ghost Ship was a favorite of mine when I started playing in the mid-90s (I loved the art and nobody explained to me that 'bury' prevented regeneration, so Ghost Ship just lived forever), Mirozel and Graxiplon have two of my favorite names (I wish they would go back to some of these incredibly weird names for incredibly weird creatures), and Mirozel and Cloud Djinn have incredible art. Diamond Mare is an early drop that allows us to stem some bleeding against early aggression. Riverwise Augur has a crappy body, but the Brainstorm effect is valuable. 

Removal here is not great, but if we can put things back on top of libraries and then get them with Counterbalance games will go in our favor. Spin into Myth provides us with a spell that actually has the text 'Fateseal' —often referred to when Jace's plus ability gets activated, since the effects are similar even if the keyword isn't evoked. 

The Rares

Just like Jace was once the consensus on Best Planeswalker of All Time, Morphling had its time as the Best Creature. Granted, when Morphling was wrecking everyone, combat damage used the stack, so its stats could change to really mess up attempts to kill him, and it protected itself well. By the time I actually owned copies myself, its time had passed. But I tell you, in a format like this, Morphling can relive the glory days and take over a game by itself. (BTW, Morphling is another Budget Buster. Why is this $10!?!? Who in their right mind is still playing it?)

Air Elemental is already a fine card in a format like this, and when we're actively taking steps to manipulate the top of our library the Djinn can recruit quite a few bangers and put you well ahead on cards. Don't forget during games that although the ability is really awesome, we get a 4/4 flying beatstick out of the deal! Djinn is a flavor homerun and a very fun card to play with. 

Future Sight

Hard to think of a Rare I'd be more excited to play in a deck that's concerned with manipulating the top of the library! It's especially exciting when you shatter your opponent's hope with Future Sight/Counterbalance

Blue doesn't really get reset buttons, per se, and I'm not playing Upheaval in these lists because even though I love the art and the card in general, it is absurdly unfun. But Evacuation comes close, and I wanted to make sure Jace just had some more good stuff. TRGR. 

Unsung Hero

Pondering Mage

I absolutely loved Modern Horizons. Part of it was due to the nostalgia; I thought it was a great look at what a present day Time Spiral would be, with plenty of weird and accidentally broken cards. But a huge part of the set was that its commons and uncommons were largely very neat, flavorful cards that weren't tied down to a specific set, plane's themes, or mechanics—just a pile of bangers. Pondering Mage is especially neat. It presents a pretty sizable (if slightly expensive) body that offers a classic and recognizable element of card selection. In this deck, it's a fantastic fit: we're grateful for the size of the creature, the information about the top of the library OR a valuable shuffle effect, and occasionally the casting cost matters as well. This deck has some extremely powerful effects, but they all require some forethought. Prepare to ponder!